Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. The number of new cases of skin cancer is rising each year. Skin cancer affects people of all skin types, and can occur anywhere on the body, however is most common on areas of the skin that has been exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, hands, and arms. Research studies have revealed that any exposure to direct sunlight can cause you severe damage, from sunburn to skin cancer. Increasingly harmful UV rays can penetrate skin layers and cause irreversible damage. Skin cancer is a common form of cancer which can quite often be successfully treated if detected early. This is very important, as even melanoma has a high recovery rate if treated early.
What does skin cancer look like?
Only your doctor can tell you for sure if you have a form of skin cancer, but there are some warning signs you can look for to let you know when you need to see your doctor. You can help yourself by self-examination. Basically you should check your entire body for anything unusual. Get your partner of family member to help in areas you can not see properly.
The first symptom of skin cancer is a tumor on the skin. Since these tumors appear on the skin, they can be detected at an early stage.
It is important to be familiar with your body so that you notice any differences. Moles are extremely common, and the average person has 10 to 40 of them. Even having some unevenly shaped moles is quite common. These are benign growths and they are nothing to worry about.
However, you should be familiar with your moles and their appearance.
The other signs you should keep an eye out for are:
* New moles
* Changes in color or shape in existing moles, or moles that start to bleed
* Moles that continue to grow
* Sores on the mole that won’t seem to heal.
Any of these changes could be a sign of a cancerous tumor developing, and you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
When you are out in the sun, make sure that you protect yourself. The most important thing is to wear a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Wear protective clothing, good quality sunglasses, and most definitely a wide brimmed hat. Damage caused by the sun can take quite a long time to actually start showing, so taking care of your skin now, could end up saving your life.